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By JOEL COLEMAN
Through the years, professional basketball has put out its fair share of dynamic duos.
Starkville High has its own version of a terrific twosome representing the school this weekend at the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star games in the form of center Gavin Ware and guard Jacolby Mobley.
"Maybe we can get out there and be like Shaq and Kobe used to be," said Ware with a laugh and a reference to former National Basketball Association player Shaquille O'Neal and current standout Kobe Bryant, a duo that led the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.
Ware and Mobley, who will both be seniors in the upcoming season, will hit the court at Mississippi College in Clinton for today's 3 p.m. game as part of a North team coached by Biggersville's Jacky Rowsey and Calhoun City's Daren Coffey.
Joining the two Yellowjackets on the North squad is more of the state's best performers, including DaJon Reno from rival Tupelo.
While Mobley says there is a social aspect to the all-star festivities, getting to team up with guys such as Reno and battle against some of Mississippi's other top talent, he's going into things today with one primary goal.
"I plan on winning," said Mobley. "(The South team) has a lot of top players, so I feel like we're the underdogs and I want to win. Me and Gavin have been talking a lot about that."
History indicates the South should be favored in this, the 57th annual, MAC All-Star matchup. The South currently leads the all-time series by a margin of 35-21, most recently taking a 121-120 overtime victory last year. Mobley and Ware each hope to help curb the South's dominance this time around.
Regardless of victory or defeat, Ware and Mobley each understand the prestige of simply getting the chance to play in today's game.
Ware, who is just weeks removed from giving his verbal commitment to the Mississippi State men's basketball program, says he'll never take these kinds of accolades for granted.
"It's always an honor to do these types of things and be recognized," said Ware. "It never gets old."
Mobley agrees and says it is somewhat amazing to him that his basketball skills have progressed to the point that he is now an all-star.
"I just always wanted to play basketball," said Mobley. "I didn't ever even think about me getting to do stuff like this."
Starkville High coach Greg Carter, who has seen his fair share of basketball talent through the years, says both Ware and Mobley are more than deserving of their all-star selections.
"I'm real proud of them," said Carter. "I'm proud anytime that one of our guys end up getting noticed statewide like this."